Barrett was able to pick out details at a distance as if he were much closer. That wasn’t something unique to him- there were many methods to do so with energy or magic. Barrett was doing it with Pure Body Tempering, which had the advantage that it was very hard or impossible to detect. Of course, people could still see him looking at them, but they might not notice at a distance. He wouldn’t necessarily appear to be looking at them, but in their general direction.
Barrett hoped nobody would notice, because he didn’t really have any way to hide what he was doing except to avoid directly staring. He stood leaning against a building as if he was waiting for something- which was true, but he wasn’t sure what. People occasionally passed by, and Barrett didn’t hide that he watched them as they walked by. After all, it would probably be more odd if he completely ignored them.
As for the door he was watching a few blocks away, not many passed in or out. The first to leave was actually the member of the Heavy Blades who he had heard enter in the first place. Then a few more came and went. There was no visible connection between them, except they were all cultivators. That by itself was a significant detail.
Everything beyond that… was speculation. There was nothing he learned that would hold up in court, but he didn’t care because official legislation hadn’t done anything for him anyway. He didn’t need hard evidence to know he was right. All he had to do was watch a woman with a pair of daggers at her waist walk into and out of the building.
She didn’t pass directly next to where Barrett was standing, instead coming from another side street, both coming and going. In Barrett’s mind, that could have meant any of several things. First, that his standing position was good enough to be ignored. Second, they were just occupied with thinking about other things and didn’t expect to be watched. Thirdly, that they were just better at him at pretending not to look. Fourth and finally, they just didn’t care about Barrett in particular. Barrett was betting on the second one, and the woman being one of the Silver Blades.
If he was wrong… it didn’t really matter. He wasn’t planning to kill her in the streets, or even go near her at all. If he was right… that meant he had to watch out. Perhaps that was the best idea anyway, since the Silver Blade could have easily reached all of the cities around the Metal Sea. It wasn’t like he had exactly been invisible, either. He’d caused a huge commotion in Crilen, and while his face hadn’t been shown there, the Silver Blades weren’t going to give up after just a month or so. He’d caused them enough trouble with the loss of the old hag who was at the fourth tier, a promising younger member, and then recently at least partial responsibility for a handful of third tier members. Maybe they would think he wasn’t worth their effort, but if they were still coming after him- and he thought they were- they wouldn’t hold back.
“We have a problem, Kail.”
“Oh? What is it? The Macaio clan’s influence doesn’t stretch anywhere near here… and the Heavy Blades aren’t going to go after a couple random guards, especially in a city.”
“Maybe not. However, I have other enemies… and definitely a large black market bounty. A faction based out of Stredo, the Silver Blades, has a grudge with me. It’s possible the leader of the attack recognized me. They were all too happy to retreat without even causing any real damage… They didn’t even try to rush past to kill Iokua. Maybe they just decided to cut their losses but… their boss didn’t even really fight me. He wasn’t exactly at a huge disadvantage in that first exchange.”
“Well, you are actually pretty terrifying in a fight. People die and you don’t look like they did anything to you at all.”
Barrett shrugged, “That’s because they expected me to be weaker, and I just don’t give them a chance to change their mind. Besides, you didn’t get the chance to see me injured in the weeks before I met you. It’s was pretty bad.” Barrett clapped his hands together, “Anyway, it’s possible we should split up. You’re capable of making it to Stredo on your own, or wherever else you want to go… if you’re careful. I don’t think it would be a good idea for you to fight those after me. But… they might already know you’re with me, in which case you’ll be an easy target on your own.”
“In that case, I don’t see any reason to split up at all.” Kail shrugged, “If it comes down to a fight, I can hold someone off for a bit. Maybe it’s risky to come with you, but with the potential danger of splitting up it basically balances out. Besides, you saved my life so I owe you… unless you think I’ll hold you back.”
Barrett closed his eyes for a few moments, “I’d take you along without worry if you had another year or two of training. As it is, I won’t be able to spare anything to help you. Unless they send inadequate forces, in which case we’ll crush them. However, I don’t expect them to send anything less than a handful of third tier cultivators, and probably more second tier.”
“Unless they don’t actually know you’re around. What’s the chance that you’re wrong?”
“About being spotted? Perhaps fifty-fifty. About them being around? I’d bet my left arm, Even if I couldn’t grow it back.”
“You can grow it back?”
“Let’s try not to find out, hmm?” Barrett grinned. “So, what’s your plan?”
“I’m coming with you,” Kail said. “You could use someone to watch your back and split the night shift. If I can improve your chances of survival even a little, then it would be dishonorable to leave you.”
“What if I said you would drag me down?” Barrett asked.
“Too late. You already admitted I might be able to help,” Kail grinned.
“Good. Let’s go then… though personally I hope I’m wrong.”
“Me too,” Kail nodded.